B E E T R O O T S A L A D

Beetroot is available from July through to January, which means that this colourful salad can be enjoyed as a side with your barbecue spread, or as a light-lunch post Christmas.

Please feel free to use either whole raw beetroot, or the vacuum packed ones from a Supermarket – I love both and it just depends on which we have bought that week.

With this recipe, I was using up leftovers so had some raw beetroot left over from a dish that I needed to roast some for, which is why I didn’t go for the pre-packaged.
If you have the same, simply wash and boil whole for about 35 mins, until soft. It is essential not to cut the beetroot as all the colour will leak out into the water whilst it is boiling!
Once cooked, remove from the water and leave to cook whilst you prepare the rest.

Ingredients (serves two):

  • 4 Beetroot
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 Bag of rocket
  • 1/2 Bag of spinach
  • Black olives, halved and to taste

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 tbls Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbls Olive oil
  • A couple of splashes of lemon juice (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. Wholegrain mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed, chopped & thrown in
  • Sprinkle of chilli flakes
  • Salt & pepper (to taste!)

These ingredients and their amounts may look vague, but this is a very basic (but delicious) beetroot salad for two.

The only things we suggest doing are finely slicing your beetroot & red onion – we like to use a mandolin so it is more similar to beetroot carpaccio, but a knife will do just fine.

After that, the rest is up to you. There is really no set way to teach someone how to make a salad; It’s all about tasting the dressing as you go along and sprinkling in what you feel like eating and what you have in your fridge.
What we can advise however, is to premix the salad before serving! We always make any salad in a large mixing bowl, toss in all the ingredients (however much of each we fancy), drizzle over the dressing, then give it a toss around the bowl. This way everything is evenly coated, which makes the leaves wilt naturally, and it has a natural look when it falls onto each plate.

Enjoy!

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Spring-green wraps with ‘slaw

Spring green wraps

Our spring-green wraps had it all; freshness, warmth, juiciness, spice and crunch. There was so much flavour going on that it satisfied pretty much every craving we had that evening. We wanted something super comforting but delicious, so we were struggling to think of what we could do that used up what we had, whilst being something more exciting than tex-mex tortilla wraps.
These definitely exceeded our expectations and ticked off all of the above. We rarely buy spring greens so it’s been refreshing to make a few interesting dishes out of them and they’re so, so cheap too. They’re way cheaper than kale and I’m starting to think of them as a little more versatile too…wrap ‘em, stuff ‘em, or chop them finely and add them to a stew, or steamed on top of a stir fry as a replacement to pak choi – give it a go!

For this dish however, we enjoyed them with sweet potato fries (grab the recipe here) and guacamole (grab recipe HERE).

For these wraps, you will need… (serves two):

  • 6 leaves of spring greens
  • 1 radish, finely sliced
  • 1 inch of cucumber, finely sliced
  • A large hand of rocket
  • A handful of mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 slices of aubergine, each roughly 1.5cm thick
  • Half a red pepper, then cut in half again
  • Half a green pepper, then cut in half again
  • Half a red onion, finely sliced in strips
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Mustard
  • Zaa’tar powder
  • Chilli powder
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

For the red cabbage ‘slaw:

  • Half a carrot, grated
  • A chunk of red cabbage, grated or very finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, sliced into strips – lengthways
  • 1 red chilli

For the dressing:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons of miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini
  • A splash of water
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Before you do anything, you want to preheat your oven to around 200 degrees celcius and follow the sweet potato fries recipe and get those in the oven.
Once they are in, start chopping your mushrooms and your two slices of aubergine and make a basic marinade. To do this, mix together a splash of sweet chilli, a drop of mustard and a sprinkle of zaa’tar, nutmeg and chilli powder. Then crush and finely chop two garlic cloves and add these in. – (If you don’t have zaa’tar then don’t worry, as you can definitely make these just as tasty with whatever you have lying around in the cupboard! We recommend cumin, paprika and nutmeg). Stir the bowl to ensure all mushrooms and aubergine are evenly covered, then set this aside whilst you make your coleslaw!

Grate and finely slice all the vegetables listed for the red cabbage ‘slaw. Place into a mixing bowl and set aside whilst you make your dressing. In a glass, mug, bowl, whatever you have, mix the miso with tahini, then drizzle in some water until it is at a slightly runny consistency. Squeeze in some lemon juice, sprinkle in some salt and pepper and give it a taste! Some garlic never goes a miss, neither does some extra chilli powder, but we’ll leave that part to you.
Drizzle over your ‘slaw and mix in well! (There should be about half left, which you can then use as a sauce for the chips and wraps.)

Next your mushrooms and aubergine mix can go into the oven, along with the remaining four garlic cloves and the large slices of pepper. Of course, if you are cooking the sweet potato fries you will want to time all this accordingly – if your fries are about eight minutes from being done, put your mushroom mix and peppers in, but if not, wait for a few minutes so nothing goes cold or burns!
Place your mushroom mix and peppers onto some foil and place into the oven.

Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to the boil on the hob. Once it is boiling, place a colander so that it balances on top and spread your spring green leaves flat around the inside of the colander. Keep them here for around three minutes, until they are a much more vibrant green and are looser. Turn the heat off and check your veg and fries.
If these are done, take the fries out and place in a bowl, and also take your mushroom, aubergine and garlic cloves out. Take the leaves out of the colander and place three on each plate.

Now you are ready to start plating up your wraps! We tended to go for a bed of ‘slaw followed by some of the mushroom mix, then some fresh rocket and cucumber for extra crunch, topped with some grilled pepper and a drizzle of miso-tahini, thick layer of guac, then fold in the sides, roll and wrap.

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Vietnamise Rice Paper Rolls

Vietnamise rice paper rolls

Vietnamise rice paper rolls are so vibrant and appetising that it’s hard for them to not impress whoever you have sat around your dinner table. We love adding them to our selection when we’re doing Asian, even if we’re just cooking for ourselves. Well – especially if we’re just cooking for ourselves.
They are a simple extra, which take no time at all but complete your spread; the crunch, the colour, the freshness accompanies some noodles so well, but they aren’t too filling that they tip you over the edge when you’ve almost had sufficient.

You can purchase the papers from any Asian store you have lurking around the corner, or failing that, a very large Supermarket should stock them too. Have a look online beforehand if you don’t live in a city, to save you driving somewhere to find out they don’t sell them. They’re usually pretty cheap – ours are around £2 something for a pack containing around twenty sheets. We cut each roll into two or three, so it wouldn’t take too many to make an impressive platter for a dinner party. Why not try these as canapés when you’re next hosting an Asian feast?

The servings for this are difficult as its up to you to decide how many you think you’ll want, so we’re going to write down what we usually do for two of us for a main dish:

You will need:

  • 3 sheets of rice paper
  • 2 spring onions cut into strips
  • A good chunk of red cabbage, either grated or cut into thin strips
  • 2 inches of cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • 3 radishes
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • A handful of rocket
  • Soy sauce, sweet chilli or hoisin sauce to dip
  • Any other veg you fancy! Water chestnuts are delicious and some red onion never goes amiss
  • Water

Method:

In a large, shallow saucepan pour in some water and bring to a simmer. Once it is hot, remove from the heat and allow to cool down.

Once it is cool enough to touch, take a sheet of rice paper and place in the water for 5 seconds or so. It will collapse and become completely soft so once it has done this, take it out and place on a large plate as flat as possible. It becomes very sticky so try not to let too much of it stick together as this will make it difficult to roll and it may tear!

Now place your veg in whichever order you prefer onto one side of the rice paper. Leave an inch or so above, below and to the side of it so that you can tuck these edges over and roll! We like to stick the top and bottom together in the middle if we can, then bring over the side and start rolling until all the rice paper is compact and held together. Slice in half, choose your dipping sauce and plate up!

R I B B O N E D & G R I L L E D C O U R G E T T E

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This side is a nice way to change up your vegetables. We enjoyed ours in a mixed-veg wrap for lunch, but it also works great as a salad, tossed with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and served on its own or with fish or another dish of some sort. Whatever you fancy!

You will need (serves two, bearing in mind we had ours in a wrap each. Use slightly more if it will be used as the base to your dish):

  • 1 courgette
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat your grill to around 200 degrees Celsius, then peel and ribbon your courgette whilst it heats up.
In a mixing bowl, mix the oil, paprika, chilli flakes and the salt and pepper onto the ribboned courgette so that each spice is distributed evenly. Then place into the oven and grill for roughly 8 minutes, or until the courgette is soft and has started to crisp slightly. So quick, simple and delicious!

Grilled aubergine with a miso-tahini dressing

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This is a great dish to take centre stage, or as a side; for example, with Greek, Italian, on top of a salad or at a BBQ. This is a warming dish for the winter and a light main in the summer, this tastes great in any seasons and you’ll be sure to want it all year round. It is delicately spiced, yet packed with flavour, texture and warmth and we find it has a place at any mealtime.

You will need (serves two as a main or a few to share):

  • 1 aubergine
  • A handful of coriander
  • A handful of parsley
  • Half a pomegranite
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika or chilli powder, depending on your preference

For the sauce:

  • 1 heaped tsp of miso paste
  • 4 tsp of tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or very finely chopped
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • Half a glass of water
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat your grill to 180 degrees celsius and leave this to heat up whilst you slice your aubergines.

Tip the slices of aubergine into a large mixing bowl and rub each strip with paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice and a drizzle of oil. Keep tossing this mixture until each part is evenly covered, then transfer to a baking tray and into the oven once it is hot.

Whilst the aubergine is cooking (it should take around 12 minutes, but turn half way through), make your miso-tahini dressing by mixing all ingredients, except for the water, together. Once these are well combined, slowly add your water. You may not need the whole thing, you may not even need half, but it should be fairly runny and should be enough to drizzle over the aubergines once you have plated up! Give it a taste and see if it has enough of each ingredient, feel free to adjust to your own tastes!

Once the aubergine slices are fully cooked and starting to crisp slightly on the edges, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Roughly chop your coriander and parsley and sprinkle these on top, then drizzle over the dressing. The last thing to do is to cut your pomegranite in half and with a large metal spoon, knock out the pomegranite seeds onto the dish.
If you feel like some extra crunch, then finely sliced radishes and red onion are a great addition – both aesthetically and for your tastebuds too! Enjoy!

S I M P L E C O U R G E T T I

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This dish is perfect if you fancy a light and quick lunch as well as something warm. The courgetti can either be warmed up in a pan just before you’re ready to eat, or you can serve it cold and more as a salad if you prefer maximum crunch. We wanted it somewhere in the middle so warmed it up in a pan for a couple of minutes, before removing and mixing in the sauce.

There are many variations with this dish, all dependent on what you have in your cupboard and what you’re in the mood for. You can top it the same as you would do with any pasta or noodle dish, for a lighter alternative, or you can treat it as the base to a salad. We mixed it with our avocado sauce and then topped it off with raisins, toasted walnuts, grilled artichoke hearts and grilled tomatoes, – delicious!

For the sauce, you will need (serves two):

  • Half an avocado
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • A splash of water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly crushed/chopped
  • Half a green chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of dried, mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper

For the courgetti (serves two):

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red onion
  • A small handful of walnuts, crushed and toasted
  • A small handful of raisins
  • 4 grilled cherry tomatoes
  • A whole artichoke heart, cut into quarters and grilled (we go for the ones that are in a jar, rather than fresh)
  • A couple of handfuls of rocket or other fresh leaves
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, grilled

Method:

Start by turning the grill onto 180 degrees celsius and place your tomatoes, artichoke hearts and whole garlic cloves under it in an ovenproof dish.

You then want to prep the rest of your veg so that once the sauce is completed everything is pretty much ready to go. Spiralize your courgette, slice the onion finely and set these aside (if you don’t have a spiralizer then either grate it to a rice-like consistency, or cut it into fine and thin strips. Even slicing the courgette into discs will still be delicious!).

Next, crush your walnuts and toast in a frying pan for about 2 minutes, tossing the pan every now and then. Once these have coloured on each side and a nutty aroma has filled the air then turn off the hob and start your sauce.

Place all the ingredients for the sauce together and blend until it is a smooth consistency. Feel free to add a little more lemon or a few more herbs once you have tasted it as really depends on what you fancy!

Lightly warm up your courgetti and onion in a pan for about 2 minutes, or longer if you prefer it softer. Once it is how you like it, remove from the heat and tip into a mixing bowl with the avocado sauce. Mix both together well, tossing in your raisins and divide onto separate plates.
Sprinkle on your fresh leaves and remove the grilled veg from the other. Divide these into two and place them onto the plates, sprinkle on your nuts and an extra sprinkle of pepper and you’re ready to go!

G U A C A M O L E

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Guacamole has always been one of our favourite dips to whip up and it always has a place on our table, regardless of the cuisine we’re cooking.

For Christmas we were lucky enough to be given a Mexican Molcajete to make and serve it in, so now it even feels as though we’re making it like the pros. Making the perfect guacamole really is as easy as it looks, so try our recipe and tips below!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 medium red onion (very finely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (test how hot the chilli is – we like it quite spicy so use one large red chilli and sometimes a couple of dashes of chilli powder, but vary it depending on your taste!)
  • a small handful of coriander
  • 1 large tomato or 5 cherry tomatoes
  • the juice of half a lime
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • pepper (to taste)

Method:

It couldn’t be simpler – chop the onion, garlic, chilli, tomato and coriander very finely and add to your mixing bowl, along with the salt and pepper. Cut the avocado into chunks and add this too, with the lime.

Once all the ingredients are in the bowl (and only once they all are) then you can mix until all ingredients are mixed into the avocado, but ensure that a few chunky bits still remain.
We find that if you add the avocado first and then mix each ingredient into the avocado then the texture is too mushy and liquidified. It seems like a small detail but I find it really makes a difference in creating the perfect guacamole. You get crunch, smoothness and taste – why do it any other way??

It really is a personal preference though so feel free to adjust the spices to your taste. If we feel like mixing it up a bit we sometimes add a bit of mesquite barbecue powder, or paprika, or even a few drops of tobasco – it’s entirely up to you! Enjoy.

 

M U N G B E A N & K A L E S A L A D

This salad had all the components for a delicious mid-week meal; it was bursting with flavours and textures, alongside being delicately spiced. The warmth of the lentils transformed it from a packed lunch to a light and tasty supper and it took hardly any effort or energy at all. There was still time to relax after work, make some mulled wine and prepare for the day ahead…No excuses!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • Puy lentils, mung beans or any other lentils/beans you have in your cupboards
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Half an Avocado
  • Half a Red Onion
  • A Large Handful of Kale (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
  • Water (?)
  • 2 Poached Eggs
  • 2 Cherry Tomatoes (Grilled)
  • Half a Teaspoon of Ras el hanout
  • Half a Teaspoon of Cumin
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (we love garlic)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A Small bunch of chopped coriander

Method:

Depending on which type of mushrooms you’ve gone for (dried or fresh) your preparation will vary. If you have gone for the dried shiitake mushrooms (which have definitely won us over recently – they’re so packed with flavour!) then you will need to soak these for a good few hours. We say the longer the better; if you can soak them when you wake up, then they should be good and ready for your meal that evening.

Once soaked and therefore soft, chop these into slices and set aside. Then finely chop your garlic, red onion and coriander. Heat up a medium sized saucepan with whatever oil you choose (we went for coconut to infuse the vegetables a little more), and then add your onion, garlic and mushrooms.

Once these have browned and softened slightly, pour in the lentils/beans and stir for a minute or so whilst your water is boiling to make up your stock.

Pour in the stock slowly and ensure that the heat is kept low! Treat lentils similarly to risotto rice – it’s a slow and gradual process in which the flavours infuse gradually and the ingredients soften. It makes us wince watching people make risotto when the heat is up full blast and the entire dish is whipped up in 20 minutes or so…A slow and low heat is key for perfect taste and texture!

Stir in your cumin, raz el hanout and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the lentils are about five/ten minutes from being finished, throw in the roughly chopped kale and coriander and put your cherry tomatoes under your pre-heated grill to soften. Leave the lentils on an even lower heat for the last few minutes whilst you boil water and poach your eggs (if the mixture has reduced too much and is thicker than you would like, add in a couple of splashes of water and adjust the spices and seasoning to your taste).
When your eggs are a couple of minutes off, slice your avocado and start plating up. We put the lentils into the bowls first, followed by the eggs and then layered the sliced avocado delicately on top. We topped it all with a sprinkle of pepper, some fresh coriander and the grilled tomato – delicious!

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R A W T H A I S A L A D

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This is a simple, versatile and delicious way to use up any vegetables you have lying around. We spiralized our courgette to give it a noodley texture, which complimented those of the grated carrot, chopped veg and crunchy toasted cashews. We topped it off with a delicious and incredibly simple dressing, which consisted of soy sauce and sweet chilli dip.

Ingredients (serves 2 for a light lunch):

  • 1 Carrot (grated)
  • 1 Courgette (preferably spiralized but grated or cut into thin strips will do)
  • Half a Red Pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 2 Inches of Cucumber (sliced into thin half moons)
  • 1 Spring Onion (thin strips)
  • A Handful of Cashews (crushed and toasted)
  • A Large Handful of Coriander (roughly chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp of Sesame Seeds (toasted)
  • Half a Lime (cut into two quarters)

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 Cup of Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup of Sweet Chilli

As we said, this dish, as with many salads is a great way to use up whatever veg you have lying around or what needs to be used up. The measurements of each ingredient are just a guideline, but feel free to change the quantities, and indeed the ingredients, depending on what you have in your fridge, pantry or cupboard! I’m sure that if we had two spring onions lying limp in our fridge when we made this then both would have gone into this dish.

The method is pretty simple therefore, simply chop, grate or spiralize, as instructed next to each ingredient, throw them in a bowl, drizzle on your dressing and squeeze a lime over the top. It really is that simple and can be eaten at the table, desk or from a Tupperware – the only thing left to do is to enjoy.

T A C O N E S

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This super easy twist on a taco is incredibly versatile and can be used to serve as a canapé, a sandwich alternative, or a bouquet of your favourite foods.

You can vary the size depending on the size of wrap you use, which means its perfect for any situation or event. For this particular tacone, we filled it with a salad blend consisting of kale, rocket, tomato, grated carrot soaked in soy, roasted cashews and vegan feta. Other ideas we had were a Greek themed one, with falafel, humous, olives and red onion, but hot fillings would be delicious and work just as well.

All you need (for two people) is one soft tortilla wrap and 2 aluminium balls. The wrap can be any size and any flour, depending on personal preference!

Here’s how you make your tacone:

First, take your wrap and cut it in half.

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Twist it into a cone shape, putting an aluminium ball at the bottom of each cone, as showed below:

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Place these into a preheated oven of 180 degrees celsius for 20 minutes, or until crisp, turning once halfway through.
They should come out looking something like this:

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Fill each tacone with your chosen filling.

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Enjoy!

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